My Thoughts on the Warcraft Movie

Is theWarcraft Movie Warcraft Movie worth the ticket price?

So the movie has been out for over a week now, and to say that it’s been getting mixed reviews is putting it nicely. Critics seem to slam the movie. Viewers give it mostly stellar reviews. Where do I land on the Warcraft Movie? Somewhere in the middle. The movie is far from perfect, and there are some things that I absolutely loved, but others that I felt fell pretty flat. Overall, I would say that if you like fantasy, adventure movies, go see it.

Most of this boils down to one thing: Time. This movie suffers from much of the same woes as Batman v. Superman, but to a much lesser degree. Essentially the Warcraft Movie took on too much and left you feeling like you had a great time, but there was something missing. I will say that unlike BVS, the Warcraft did not take on too many plot lines just to ultimately cut them off and leave them hanging. But for the sake of clarity, I’ll list the things I thought Warcraft did very well, and other things that I thought it could have done better. Before I get into the full review, I will give my SPOILER ALERT!!!! Read on at your own peril!!!

 

Warcraft Movie – Pro’s

Warcraft did what you expect from Blizzard – They built a fantastic world, filled with awe and wonder. From the moments where I saw Ironforge, I wanted to cry with how well they recreated it. Stormwind was picture perfect, though much larger in scale, and I could pick out some of the major sights of the city from Stormwind Keep to the Cathedral of Light. And then there was the flight to Karazhan to be greeted by Moroes (I always hated his Garrote).

The Warcraft Movie did well to recreate lush forests and war camps reminiscent of the old RTS games. More than the scenery though, they established the atmosphere of a world that has been at peace, and is not prepared for war, while an invading race of monstrous orcs begins their conquest of Azeroth. They establish characters with very clear roles and positions. They establish a world where magic is well known and somewhat widely practiced. At least widely enough that most have heard of it.

Also, the introduction of other races, even if not exactly used right away, was a nice touch to add to the world.

The Warcraft Movie CGI was absolutely beautiful

Next is the CGI – I had serious doubts about how the appearance of orcs would be in this movie. In the trailer, they looked very clunky and quite frankly, video gamish, which is something I would NOT like to see in a movie. That’s just more fuel for the fire of the haters who scream the “Video Game Movie Curse!”. To be honest, I was blown away with how the orcs moved, responded and interacted with each other. I felt they really could be in this world.  Less so with the combat, but I’ll tackle that in the next session.

The Story – The story was simple enough to follow, but engaging enough to understand the gravity of the situation. Both sides have much to lose in this war being spearheaded by Gul’Dan.

Finally – The characters. They established very likable characters that you will honestly relate to. Some of the scenes are a bit clunky and the dialogue feels off, but if these were real people, you would have those awkward moments. Each character has their own set of virtues, backgrounds, and roles within the Warcraft movie.

And of course, the Warcraft Movie Easter Eggs!

They definitely threw in a few extra shots, just so fans knew they’d be there. For example, a little Murloc in a stream greeting two riders with a Gurgle as they rode by. The sound of a kobold as the knights ride through Elwynn Forest. Or was that a Gnoll? Whatever Hogger is. They heard hogger! Run like hell!!! A few of the Warlords of Draenor didn’t have speaking roles, but they were definitely in the battle. I saw Grom Hellscream, Kargath Bladefist, Nerzhul (I think). They looked like they were right out of the game, just a bit more lifelike. You saw Moroes get his soul sucked out, and if you played WoW in Burning Crusade, you know how that turns out.

We even get to see someone get sheeped! And last but not least, little baby Go’el or Thrall as we know him now. To top it all off, there was a scene where they shot from town to town, showing the orcs invading, chopping down buildings, that felt like it was straight out of the RTS games, but still had the cinematic impact.

Warcraft Movie Con’s

The Warcraft Movie really could have done this better:

So Warcraft is not a perfect movie as I mentioned above, and it does have its flaws. I’ll try to leave the most spoilery stuff at the end. Keep in mind, part of this rant is because I’m a bit of a lore nerd, and they changed some things.

The combat between orcs and humans bothered me

The orcs looked so real and lifelike. Until you put a sword through them. It looked like they were literally sword fighting with themselves, and then CGI’d the orcs in after. Specifically, you see them swing a sword and then slow down before the impact, like they had to stop swinging the sword themselves, instead of being stopped by the orc they were plunging it into. Other than that, the Elwynn Forest scene was fantastic.

Characters in the Warcraft Movie still needed a little work

Wait, I thought they were one of the good things in this movie? They are, in that they all have a role to play and they’re clearly defined. What’s lacking is any meaningful arc or development. For the most part, each character at the end of the movie, is exactly the same as when you meet them… Well except for the ones that die. They’re definitely not the same.

What I’m saying is Lothar is still Lothar. A loyal knight who’s cocky and sure of his win. I guess he likes Khadgar a little better by the end. But he still hates everyone else. This guy had a major moment that should have screwed his character up completely, but he got drunk, got pissed off, and then he’s all better, back on the mission. No second thought on SPOILER ALERT your freaking son getting killed!!! No mention of this AT ALL after the initial scene. A grieving father on a suicide mission to kill every last orc would have been much more compelling.

Khadgar is still Khadgar – He’s a little bumbling, though he did pick up some powerful magic. Maybe he’s going to be more confident as he goes into the first two wars.

Garona – Learned to like the humans, fought for them, then SPOILER Stabbed them in the back. Well, not all of them. Just one very important one. The execution in this scene is what lost me.

Medivh – gave a great performance, but I would have liked to see more of an inner struggle, rather than just, “Oh, I’m exhausted again. Let’s jump back in the magical kiddie pool!”

 

Finally – The ending of the Warcraft Movie

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

There, I warned you. This is where I have the biggest gripe with the movie, and felt like it was completely anti-climactic. So many things just didn’t make sense. Ok, so the battle was to rescue a bunch of peasants that, ok the king is invested in them, but why does the audience care? They might as well be some disposable red shirts from Star Trek. Regardless, it doesn’t end well for the king and his knights, though they get their people home safely. That was a battle that nobody truly won. Orcs didn’t open their portal, Humans got some peasants out at the expense of their king. Garona shanked King Llane Wrynn, but not because she was magically enslaved by Gul’Dan like she was in the game lore.

No, she just did it so Blackhand couldn’t. So that SHE would get the honorable kill of taking out a faction leader (I miss old school capital city raids), and she became a hero that could influence her people and eventually broker peace. After killing a boatload of orcs, they welcome her back with open arms for killing the king. Cool, I guess that works.

WTF did they do to Mak’Gora in the Warcraft Movie???

Now Lothar comes in too late to save the king, but I guess to reclaim his body? He puts up a decent last stand when he’s knocked out cold. He’s then pitted against Blackhand for a duel of Mak’Gora. Ok, why would Lothar even be allowed to take part in an orc tradition? He’s not an orc, he’s not a chieftain! Mak’Gora is a duel for Leadership of a clan! That’s why Durotan challenged Gul’Dan. Blackhand would never relinquish leadership of his clan to a human, and they would never follow Lothar. Likewise, Lothar would not bet the human race, the kingdom of Stormwind on a single duel. Well, maybe he would because he’s a cocky asshole, but the people would never get behind it.

The final duel

My last gripe with this ending is we already saw this fight in the trailer!!! We know exactly how it happens! You see Lothar charging barefoot, toward what we now know as Blackhand, and he pulls a sneaky slide under the legs for the win! You saw the trailer? Well you saw the movie then, don’t waste your money. Just kidding. Do go see the movie.

 

I’ve picked apart some things on a lore level, and had they more time to develop the characters, I think the Warcraft Movie would have been on a whole new level. Overall, it’s a fun movie, and whether or not you play the game, it’s worth watching. Maybe I was actually overly critical on these things because I know how things are SUPPOSED to go, but I’ll leave it there. I won’t even get into how they changed Garona’ story and family ties.

Buying WoW Game Time with Gold???

Blizzard recently announced after 6.1’s release that in the near future they will be putting out the WoW token that can be purchased for $20 cash, traded in-game, and redeemed for 30 days of game time. It’s not the first time Blizzard introduced an in-game item that can be bought for cash but traded in-game for gold. The Guardian Cub made waves back in 2011 when players realized they could legally and ethically buy WoW gold by purchasing the in-game token, and selling it on the auction house.

The WoW Token vs Gold Sellers

The strategy then is the same as it is now. Blizzard wants to take power away from gold-buying services that wreak havoc on the in-game economy, spamming trade chat, hacking accounts, and ultimately disrupting in-game experiences. I know how it works. I’ve been hacked before. In the middle of playing, I got a disconnected and when I tried to log back in, my password had already been changed. Luckily, Blizzard was VERY quick to restore my account. When I logged back in, the gold had been cleared out on 3 of my characters for about 15k. Again, Blizzard was awesome about restoring all of it, but if I hadn’t been playing at that very moment, it may have been too late to catch.

Ok, so I got off on a tangent there. The point is, gold buying hurts everyone, whether you participate or not. WoW wants to put that power back into the hands of the PLAYERS. This in-game WoW token will be purchased through the Blizzard Store, and is usable for 30 days of game time. The purchaser can then sell the WoW Token on the auction house, where it is IMMEDIATELY bound to the purchaser. This prevents people from manipulating the market by flipping – buying low and selling high.

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Also, Blizzard stated that you will NOT be able to name your own price when selling these tokens. Instead, it will be determined by market factors: Supply and demand, and calculated by Blizzard and a complex formula based on your server’s economy. How they calculate that, I have no idea, but it will be unique to your realm’s economy, based on the number of sellers and buyers. Blizzard is still working out the details on pricing the WoW Token in-game, but it does mean something huge… If you have enough gold, this token means you can potentially never pay for a WoW subscription again!

Is WoW making a step toward Free to Play with this move? No, I don’t believe that will be the case. They won’t ever go that route. They have too much at stake to maintain financially in keeping up staff. I DO believe that this will make it easier for players to EARN their subscription through either real life money or in-game Gold. Essentially, if I am purchasing a token through the blizzard store and selling it on the AH, I am buying gold.

However, my guess is this is NOT going to be cheap or easy. Most players will likely not be able to purchase a lifetime of WoW with gold. You have to be smart. And you have to have the right tools. I would bet that anybody using this WoW Gold Making addon, probably has a bit of an unfair advantage in being able to afford these tokens.

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I’ve been playing my druid since launch, and in vanilla WoW I could not choose Feral because it practically forced you to choose either cat or bear form. There were literally two different talent trees within the feral tree, complete with two different high end talents at level 40. This was back when gold dual spec didn’t exist and respecs were costly because gold was not as abundant as it is today. Changing your spec could take weeks if you don’t have the gear for it. Life in multi-specs is much easier in today’s World of Warcraft. Especially now that Druids have 4 dedicated talent trees and you can choose Feral and Guardian as your two primary specs. You no longer have to make such a steep investment to switch between the two, aside from changing specs and swapping a few gear pieces between fights.

This got me to thinking. What if all specs got that 4th class? That would actually help even out the dungeon and raid finder queues if there were more tank and healing specs out there. Here were a few of my ideas. I’m interested to see what you guys think, and what your suggestions would be for your favorite class’s 4th spec.

 

 

These two can be interchangeable:

Priest: Tank spec, focuses on shielding spells and absorbing damage in place of others. Can use 1h weapons and spell damage shields

Mage: Melee damage – spell damage sword and shield, imbues weapon with magic strikes, absorbs damage with shield that can be released on enemies. Alternatively as a tank, the mage can create a damage shield based on how much damage he inflicts… It could be fun to toy around with.

 

These two can be interchangeable:

Paladin: Ranged caster. The old Shockadin returns! It’s feasible to create, and there is not really a dedicated holy spellcaster in the game (Smite priest? Meh, why?)The spells are already there: Consecration, exorcism, holy shock, judgment, hammer of wrath, and some of the healing spells can be converted to damage spells. Add in a few unique spells (like Fist of the Heavens!!) and we’ve got a solid plate wearing spell-caster!

Death Knight: Necromancy – master of the balance of life and death. He can restore life to those that are brushed by death. He uses different runes to summon dark energies to heal and protect allies. Think of applying bone and blood shield to allies, or summoning blood worms to heal. He wears intellect plate (Sorry pallies, you gotta share now!) and dual wields spell damage weapons.

 

These two can be interchangeable:

Warlock: Demonic Defense – He’s a ranged tank that uses demon slaves as a meat shield to protect himself and allies. The 50% of damage absorbed by the pet is shared to the Warlock and vice versa. Damage to the pet can kill the warlock.

Hunter: Medicine – This one can actually make sense if you think about it. He already has skills like mend pet and revive. He can expand on this knowledge and apply these skills to allies in battle. I like the idea of a non-mana using healer. This was somewhat inspired by SWTOR and the healing Commando or Smuggler, who are more medical healers than magical. His knowledge of nature allows him to create bandages, salves, and potions to aid allies in battle. Pets can deliver potions to allies, and the hunter can mark an ally so that the next time damage is done to that ally, the pet takes the blow instead. Also, the hunter can get a new sting that can target allies and converts damage to healing when doing so. He wears intellect mail, and agility on weapons counts toward spellpower. (Sorry shammies, you gotta share now too!)

 

Rogue: Avoidance tank, focusing on dodging and parrying. He can have a combo finisher to either reduce incoming damage, self-heal, or absorb life on the next attack. Rogues would also have a mechanic where any single attack that would be greater than 50% of his health (didn’t dodge that one!) will become a DoT over 10-15 seconds with a cooldown. This is necessary because rogues just don’t have as much mitigation through leather.

Shaman: Elemental tank. Back in Vanilla WoW Shaman were actually intended to be able to tank because they could equip shields. It never happened. I’d like to see it. It would be fun. Either that, or bring back a 2h Windfury spec . >: )

Warriors: It wouldn’t make any sense to have them as healers, and adding another tank spec or melee damage spec just wouldn’t make sense. The only thing I can think of is giving them a ranged weapon spec. Hunters can’t have all the fun with guns! Instead of using focus and pets, use the Warrior’s rage mechanic. Convert some of the warriors key abilities to shots (Heroic shot, cleave could ricochet to 2 nearby enemies, etc.) and create a new stance: Ranger stance, reduces the warrior’s weapon speed by 20% and movement speed, but increases weapon damage. So a 2.7 weapon becomes a 3.2 speed or 3.0 speed weapon becomes 3.6, but increases damage to match a warrior’s normal 2h damage, at the tradeoff of movement speed since they wear heavy armor for protection.

Monk: I’m gonna cop out on this… I don’t know… I haven’t played one yet, so I have no idea what to do with them. Any monks have any thoughts on how to play this?

Druids – Yeah, you got yours already.

I’m interested in anyone else’s take on what you would like to see if your favorite class had a 4th spec. Let’s push this with blizz for the next expansion!